Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria Qualify for World Cup; in Ecuador Stage is Set for Pivotal Brazil vs. Colombia Match

Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea became the 12th and 13th teams to qualify for the 2011 Women’s World Cup after winning in today’s African Women’s Championship semifinals.

Equatorial Guinea beat South Africa in overtime after both teams played a scoreless 90 minutes in their semifinal match today. Salimata Simporé took advantage of a failed clearance by South Africa in the 112th minute to put Equatorial Guinea ahead, 1-0. Equatorial Guinea then went up 2-0 after an own goal by South Africa. Then, in the 125th minute, Simporé scored her second goal of the game and third of the tournament before South Africa’s Amanda Dlamin scored in the 118th minute.

Earlier today, Nigeria beat Cameroon, 5-1, in the other semifinal game. The Super Falcons have never not qualified for the World Cup. Perpetua Nkwocha scored three goals for Nigeria and now leads the 2010 AWC with 10 goals in four games. Ugochi Oparano scored Nigeria’s other two goals, and Grace Ngock scored for Cameroon. Nigeria faces Equatorial Guinea Sunday in the AWC championship, which Equatorial Guinea won in 2008 (a non-World Cup year).

Tonight, in Ecuador, the biggest match of the CONMEBOL qualifiers takes place at the 22,000-capacity Estadio Alejandro Serrano Aguilar as Brazil takes on Colombia, two teams currently unbeaten in Group B. This match has huge implications for Colombia. A win sends the team to the second stage and it eliminates Uruguay from the group stage. Venezuela, which is already eliminated, plays Uruguay prior to Colombia versus Brazil. Paraguay, the other team in Group B, plays Brazil Nov. 13 and basically needs a miracle to qualify for the second stage.

In Group A action last night, Chile became the first of four teams to reach the second stage after its 3-1 win over Peru. Karen Araya scored twice and Yanara Aedo scored once for Chile. Lyana Chirinos scored for Peru. Joshelyn Sanchez scored twice for Ecuador in its 4-3 win over Bolivia. The final spot in the second stage for a Group A team is up for grabs. Either Argentina or Ecuador will advance. Ecuador must beat Argentina Friday night by at least three goals to move on.

With 13 teams now qualified for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, seven teams are fighting for the remaining three spots. Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Italy, and the U.S. still have a shot at reaching Germany. Out of the five teams from South America, only two can qualify, while Italy and the U.S. are playing Nov. 20 and 27 in the UEFA/CONCACAF playoff with the winner grabbing the 16th and final spot in the World Cup.